Movement Strategy Center’s Advancement Team Met in Person for the First Time for Strategy, Culture, and Fun by David Malinowski

Originating from Arizona, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Texas, MSC’s Advancement team converged in the hills of Oakland, CA for their first in-person retreat. Meeting together in person for the first time helped the team form deeper connections between themselves and MSC’s history and mission.

Four people stand in front of a wall of botanical greenery at the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco
MSC’s Advancement Team at the Conservatory of Flowers: from left, Lidia Alvarez, David Malinowski, Frank Gargione, Kathy Moore, not pictured, Mohini Tadikonda and Marcus Cunningham (who joined virtually).

The team, which includes Development, Philanthropic Services, and Communications personnel, began their conversations with icebreakers about remote working habits, challenges, and preferences before moving on to team-building workshops designed to bring into focus how each individual can contribute to the Advancement Team’s strategic goals.

A large wooden interior roof open to a a wall of floor to ceiling glass windows. Outside is a wooden deck surrounded by the canopy of pine trees.
The gathering place in the hills of Oakland, CA.

Led by Lidia Alvarez, MSC’s Communications Manager, these workshops included this video of MSC’s Vice Chair and Co-Founder, Taj James and the use of the Movement Building Practice: Leading With Vision & Purpose workbook, one of MSC’s foundational resources. “Facilitating the Advancement team retreat was a truly meaningful experience, allowing us to delve deeper into our 100-year vision and explore how it aligns with our shared ideals of collective liberation. Witnessing the team’s unwavering enthusiasm and dedication towards our long-term goals was truly inspiring,” noted Alvarez.

On the second day of their retreat, the team traveled across the Bay to the heart of San Francisco for a day of shared meals, a museum exhibit, and further team-building conversations. After breakfast at a local cafe, the team made their way to Golden Gate Park and the de Young Museum for its current exhibition: Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence. This exhibit contains the artist’s signature, larger-than-life paintings and bronze sculptures depicting contemporary Black men and women set within historical tableaus. Wiley’s work is breathtaking, and is a comment on the realities of colonialism and systemic racism.

A black man in blue jeans and a yellow sweatshirt lies with his eyes closed over a large rock. An intricate pattern of oranges and blue-greens rises from behind the foreground.
Kehinde Wiley, Femme Piquée par un Serpent (Mamadou Gueye), 2022. Oil on canvas, 131 7/8 x 300 in. (335 x 762 cm), framed: 143 5/16 x 311 x 3 15/16 in. (364 x 790 x 10 cm). EX1137.2. ©️ Kehinde Wiley. Courtesy of Galerie Templon, Paris. Photo: Ugo Carmeni.

Moved by the exhibit, the Advancement Team reconvened just outside the de Young and continued their team-building conversations from the day prior. Later, they made their way through Golden Gate Park to the Conservatory of Flowers before sitting down to a farewell dinner.

As the MSC ecosystem continues to grow, its internal teams grow as well. By meeting in person for retreats such as this, teams develop strong, authentic relationships and can better support MSC’s core infrastructure, partners and grantees, as well as MSC’s vision and intention to create equitable systems in philanthropy.